Starting the Year Burned Out

Confession Time: I'm starting the year burned out.

The 2020-2021 was ridiculously hard and I need at least another 4 months of summer to recover. But it's September and my new students need me to be fresh, excited, joyful, relational, and engaged now. 

When I realized I had this problem, I did what I always do to solve problems: Googled it.

I found this article on how to overcome burnout that I think is pretty simple and inspiring. It had the common (but commonly ignored) tip of practicing self-care. It also suggested that trying something new could help to overcome burnout. I think that's the one I'm to focus on this year. 

I've found that the areas I experience burnout in regularly are: grading, emails, and physical strain from extended periods of staring at my computer.

For grading burnout, I'm going to collect less work and use and programs like it to cut back on the amount of code-checking I do for students. I'm also going to have them peer-review each others' work a LOT more for formative points. I can use even more new ideas for this category... but it's a start.

For emails, I think I'm going to dedicate last hour of my workday for email responses and then stop. I'm going to stop checking my work email on my phone after hours. Often, I've found that students who email me for help but then don't get an immediate answer sometimes go on to solve their own problems. So I'm going to allow more space for that.

For physical strain... This one's tough because I teach online and hyper-focus on work sometimes... I think I'm going to try setting a timer and forcing myself to take a 5 minute break every hour to look out a window, go outside, or look at anything other than my screen. 

I'd encourage you who are experiencing burnout to read the article above and see what could help you too. It's pretty basic, but sometimes September is a good time reteach and relearn basics. Happy start of school!